Collectors Con MD Winter Edition 2013

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I haven’t done a convention write up in awhile so i figured i would do one for a recent convention I really enjoyed. 

Collectors Con (http://www.collectorsconmd.com) is a small convention in the Baltimore, Maryland area run by Collectors Corner. It’s a one day affair with local vendors and artists, along with a few bigger name guests. Even though this con is small it has a little bit of everything including gaming, comics, artists, cosplayers and other fun stuff you would expect to see at an all around nerd convention. So let me first talk a little bit about the location and surrounding area. The facility this year was a building called the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. I really liked this location much more than the previous hotel space CC was at before. It was one nice big open room and relatively easy to find being just around the corner from Collectors Corner store. The bathroom was really large and clean also, which is definitely a plus when you’re cosplaying. There was a separate room where panels were held and there was a stage where the costume contest took place. The surrounding area is a bit rural but there are plenty of places near by to eat, we had donuts from the Fractured Prune and BBQ from a shack around the corner. Overall I was very pleased with the new location.

I was working at the Collector’s Corner booth talking to customers and handing out coupons and flyers. Even though i was working I really had a good time and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the event. I go to a lot of bigger east coast conventions and sometimes it’s nice to attend something smaller where you can really interact with other people that share your interests. The volunteers and employees also working at the booth were really  nice and fun to hang out with, the day definitely would not have been as enjoyable without  them. Although I didn’t get to walk around much Collectors Con had good diversity in their vendors and guests. Some of the other vendors I enjoyed seeing were Samurai DVD (http://www.samuraidvd.com), Capitol Comics (http://www.capitalcomicsmd.com) and Maki Roll’s Chop Shop (https://www.facebook.com/makilovesunicorns). Collectors Con’s big name guest was Jim Sternako! He’s a comic book artist and writer. He had a big booth displaying some of his artwork where you could chat with him and get things signed, and he also did a panel that was apparently so good it lasted an extra hour. CC also had a Magic the Gathering tournament and a costume contest with prizes. I was one of the judges for the costume contest and there was definitely a decent turnout of cosplayers for such a small convention. A few things I scored at this convention were a Batman Beyond trade, some Gargoyles trading cards and an Elisa from Gargoyles action figure and a t shirt repping my friends new comic book series. Overall I really enjoyed this convention and was glad I had a chance to go and hang out. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment of Collectors Con and if you’re in the Baltimore, MD area I hope you’ll also check it out. 

So lastly let me talk about the costume I wore for Collectors Con. Even though I wasn’t originally planning on it I ended up putting together a brand new costume to wear to this convention. I did Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke in one of her earlier incarnations. Here’s the picture I used as my main reference image. Image

The artist also happens to be one of my good friends Rey Arzeno (http://arzeno.deviantart.com/), I am totally in love with everything he does and I always buy his prints whenever I see him at conventions. Here are a couple pics of me at the convention in my costume. ImageImageImage

Photos by Coolsteel27 Photography (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coolsteel27-Photography/638291216192213), the lovely wife of Eric Brooks (the Blade cosplayer in pic 2) and Mark Gross (the official photographer of CC). This costume was a lot easier than I originally thought it would be and I was able to finish it no problem in just a couple days before the convention. This costume was completely made by me except for the shoes and wig which I bought on ebay. I started out with my basic side seam body suit pattern without using the sleeves and extended the feet so i was able to slip some flat shoes inside. The sleeves are attached at the armpit and are basically two layers of fabric made into a tube and gathered at the wrist. I made the wrist cuffs with a simple pattern I drafted myself. The pink buckles are craft foam covered in fabric and glued to the costume. The ruffles (??? not sure what to call them) on the lower legs were also double layered fabric gathered then hand stitched on. The hardest part of the actual costume were the side panels. I drew on and cut out the shape that i wanted and sewed in pieces of flesh colored spandex. Like I previously stated, the wig was bought off ebay. I wasn’t happy with the color so I ink dyed it a much darker purple than it originally was and heat styled the bangs so they were a bit more fluffy. Overall I was really happy with how this costume turned out and I would really like to wear it again because it’s super comfy. 

For regular updates about my cosplays and convention goings on please check out my Facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/jkcosplay. For other geeky news and fun things go to https://www.facebook.com/LeagueOfHotGeeks. For more in depth explanation of my costumes you can reference my ACP http://www.acparadise.com/loves/krislee. 

Zenkaikon 2013

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                    Zenkaikon is an anime convention newly moved to Lancaster, PA. It took place March 22-24 at the Lancaster County Convention Center located on 25 South Queen Street. It took Joepool and I about 2 hours to drive to the convention center from our house near DC. The convention center is in a good location because of its proximity to hotels, food, parking and nice areas to take photos. Some of the nearby hotels are the Lancaster Marriott, the Lancaster Arts Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott and the Double Tree by Hilton. I do believe that all the hotels I just listed had Zenkaikon blocks for discounted room rates. Joepool, Sarah Fong, Coreaneggroll Cosplay and I all stayed at the Heritage Hotel which was about 20 minutes away from the convention center. Lancaster isn't a huge city so driving in wasn't a big deal and we didn't have any problems with traffic. There are quite a few restaurants within walking distance of the convention center as well as a restaurant and concession stand inside the center itself. Some of the nearby food establishments are the Lancaster Central Market, Isaac's, Sakura, Annie Bailey's Irish Pub, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Subway, Spyro Gyros and more. For lunch on Friday we ate at the Lancaster Central Market and got some really good home cooked food. It's a large facility that houses a bunch of independent vendors. Unfortunately it closes early on Saturday and all day Sunday but I was glad to get a chance to go there. The market manager took our picture and posted it on their fan page. On Sunday we ate lunch at Isaac's, it's a semi fast food sit down sandwich restaurant. The food there was pretty good and they have a pickle bar. I really liked their pepper jack tomato soup. Other than that we ate outside of central Lancaster. We stopped at Sonic Drive in twice, ate at Cracker Barrel on the way up, had all you can eat sushi at Tokyo, and had an awesome dinner at Texas Roadhouse on the way home. Parking was easy to come by. If you couldn't find a space in the parking garage attached to the convention center there were a few nearby garages within walking distance. Zenkaikon also gave out parking vouchers for $5 off the price of parking. We were able to park in the attached garage all weekend without too much trouble finding a space. The convention center itself is laid out pretty well. Using the map we were able to figure out where things were without too much trouble. However it wasn't that great for photos because most of the convention center was very dark. There were a few hallways and corridors that had some good natural lighting during the day and the area surrounding the convention center is nice also. On Sunday for Persona 4 we walked a block to a nearby park and took some nice photos. Overall I was pretty happy with the location of the convention. 
                    The convention itself was pretty small but they still had a lot of stuff going on. If you're from the DC area I would say Zenkaikon is about the same size as Anime USA. They did offer the option of pre registering. Pre reg started at $40 for the weekend and went up as the con drew closer. At door registration for a 3 day pass was $60, $50 for a two day pass and $25 for a Sunday only pass. There was never any significant wait at the registration line that I witnessed but they only took cash to pay for passes. Sarah and I had free passes because we presented a panel on Friday. You could get your 18+ wristbands down in the same area as registration which was pretty convenient if you were interested in things like Cosplay Burlesque or some of the adult panels. During registration hours they also had weapons check in the same area. The convention was open decent hours, Friday 11 am to 2 am, Saturday 9 am to 2 am and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm. They weren't kicking con goers out right at closing either. Zenkaikon had a little bit of everything you could want at an anime convention: panels, workshops, anime and movie screenings, concerts, Cosplay, video games, table top gaming, LARP. amv's, dances, vendors and artists. Sarah and I hosted a panel on Friday called Project Management for Cosplay Groups. I wasn't expecting anyone to show but we had a decent turnout of about 20 people. Sarah used her knowledge of project management from school and work to put together an informative PowerPoint about managing groups of people and relating it to cosplayers. We used our Persona 4 group as an example. The actual presentation only took about 20 minutes and we used the remaining time for questions. I thought it was a pretty good panel but I might be biased. Zenkaikon had a Hall Cosplay Contest; I entered it Friday for the novice division. There was no pre registration and it was based on craftsmanship, which means you had to have made most of your costume yourself. Cosplayers also had the option of walking in the Fashion show during the masquerade. I opted not to because I only wore my Friday costume on Friday. There were specific times of the day when the costumes were being judged and you just had to wait in line. Awards were announced Saturday after the Masquerade. I won first place in my division which I was very surprised about because I saw a lot of good cosplayers waiting in line with me. I'm also very thankful for all my friends that sat through the entire Masquerade with me while I waited for the award announcement and who cheered uproariously when I won. I really enjoyed the video game room at Zenkaikon. It was a little small but they had a good selection and there was always something available to play. The games changed everyday so there was a good variety. I played a DBZ game for the Kinect, Super Smash Brothers, Persona 4 Arena and DDR. Zenkaikon had three dances; the Sakura Cosplay Ball, the after ball party and the Saturday Night Rave. The only dance I went to was the Saturday Night Rave. It didn't seem like many people were actually dancing but the music was pretty good and we stuck around for a little while. The vendors area and artist alley were all in the same large room. It wasn't that big, comparable to Anime USA, but they had some good stuff. Joepool and I got 2 Berserk figures, one of Guts and one of Griffith, for $30 each and an Alpha Chun Li statue with no box for $25. Both were great deals and I'm really happy with the purchases. The artist alley also had some good stuff but we had reached our purchasing quota for the weekend. There was lots of nice artwork, cute t shirts and other good stuff. I was pleasantly surprised by the dealer’s room and artist alley. Overall I really enjoyed Zenkaikon as a convention and even though it was a little small there was a good variety of activities to part take in and everything was good quality.
                    Now to talk about my cosplays for Zenkaikon! I of course cosplayed all three days with a different costume each day. Friday was a new costume, Shigure from History’s Mightiest Disciple Kenichi, Saturday was another new costume, Rin from Blue Exorcist, and Sunday we got the Persona 4 group back together. Shigure was pretty much completely made from scratch except for the sword and fishnet shirt. I’m really happy with the costume and I won the hall costume contest on Friday for the novice division with it. The hardest part about the costume was really the make up. It probably took me about an hour and half to do my make up because of her extreme eyebrows. Joepool was cosplaying with me that day. He was Kenichi from the same series. We bought his costume because it’s just a simple boys uniform and I styled his wig. Joepool did a really good job getting into character and Sarah Fong got a bunch of silly videos of us in costume. Hopefully those videos will be posted soon. Not many people recognized us but I wasn’t really surprised because it was a small convention. Saturday I cosplayed Rin Okumura from Blue Exorcist with Sarah Fong and Mochavalentino. Sarah was Shura and Mocha was Arthur. We did a fun impromptu photoshoot with Naterpix and got some good photos. The costume was largely store bought and modified. I got most of the pieces from the thrift store and Walmart. It’s a good comfy and fun to wear costume and I can’t wait to wear it for another convention. My favorite part of the costume is the light up horns. Joepool engineered it for me with LED tea lights and stuffed animal batting, the affect is really cool and I think it was extra impressive when I accepted my award during the costume contest. Sunday was Persona with my cosplay buddies Sarah Fong, Coreaneggroll Cosplay and Mochavalentino. We were all wearing our costumes from Katsucon with Mochavalentino as human form Teddy. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have Narukami or Rise with us to get pics of the entire group. I had actually wanted to wear Yukiko’s spring school uniform that I had made in time for Katsucon but in lieu of the really brisk weather I decided to wear her regular uniform. We did a photoshoot with Eve Cowen at a nearby park. It was a lot of fun and we got some really cute pics. Sarah also put together a silly fan film from the photoshoot, you can see it on her Youtube channel here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRKm-1IVIzc.

 

                    In general I really enjoyed my time at Zenkaikon. I thought it was a decent convention and I had a lot of fun with my friends. I do think the tickets are over priced and next year I will definitely pre register or do a panel to reduce my expenses for the convention. If you’re in the area I would definitely recommend you check it out next year but if you’re coming from a little farther away I don’t necessarily think it’s worth the trip. With that being said my Zenkaikon write up is finished and I’ll leave you with a bunch of links.
if you’re interested in construction notes on my costumes you can find them at my American Cosplay Paradise page
http://www.acparadise.com/loves/krislee

My Facebook fanpage
www.facebook.com/jkcosplay

Sarah Fong’s fanpage
www.facebook.com/SarahFongCosplay

Coreaneggroll cosplay’s fanpage
www.facebook.com/CoreaneggrollCosplay

MochaValentino’s fanpage
www.facebook.com/TheMochaValentino

also please check out www.facebook.com/LeagueOfHotGeeks for tons of geeky news and updates!

 

Katsucon 2013 Cosplays!

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Since this was such a big cosplay convention I decided to do a separate blog entry about my costumes. I’ll post a reference pic and what my costume looked like and give a little run down of how it was constructed. I’ll also talk a little about the photoshoots I did. 

Friday – Yukiko Amagi of Persona 4

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There’s the reference pic for Yukiko. She’s a supporting character in the Persona 4 video game and anime. Pretty much a regular high school student that is kidnapped and almost killed then becomes part of a teenage investigation squad trying to catch a killer. For Katsucon Friday I did three versions of her.

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The first version is non cannon and our group called it Persona PJ style. We basically got together outfits inspired by our characters for a private shoot with photographer Adam Suh. For my pj inspired look I just bought a red robe and a black tank top dress. 

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This is a picture of my Yukiko regular school uniform. It was a pretty simple costume that I tried really Hard to make as close to the reference pic as possible. The wig is from gothiclolitawigs.com and is pretty much perfect for Yukiko. I didn’t have to style at all except to brush it out. The headband was originally black but since it was the perfect size I just glued on some scrap red fabric. I bought a red sweater and used fleece bias tape to create the cable knit pattern on the front, back and arms. I also resized and changed the buttons on it. The skirt was made from scratch, I even dyed the fabric grey. Sarah Fong found a black and white hounds tooth fabric and I pleated and sewed the skirt together. There’s elastic in the waist band. I bought extra thick, fleece lined tights because I knew it would be really cold at the convention. The shoes were bought at the thrift store and I glued buckles on and painted on the yellow stitching. I’m not used to wearing high heels of any sort and my feet were killing my after just a couple hours.

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Last Yukiko outfit of the con was Shadow Yukiko, aka Princess Yukiko. This outfit was really thrown together last minute because Sarah was trying to get a Persona Shadows group thrown together. The tiara is made of wire that I super glued together. The microphone is painted foam on a stick, literally. I bought the hot pink gloves and added the white part to the tops. The dress itself was a wedding dress that I purchased at the thrift store and modified. I added all the pink parts and made the red flowers out of fabric. The entire thing is mostly hand stitched and glued together. I also bought an under skirt from the thrift store for $10 to add a little poof to the bottom. My feet hurt so bad I didn’t even wear shoes underneath the dress. All in all I wasn’t very happy with the outfit but it doesn’t look too bad.

Here’s a pic of the whole Persona group.

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Saturday – Yurine of Karas

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Yurine is a cute little magical cat girl that controls Karas and helps protect the city with a very straight face. This was the only costume I wore on Saturday and all in all was my favorite costume of the weekend. Here’s a pic of my costume.

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Here’s one of me and Joepool together, him as Otoha, aka Dr Karas

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The goggles were the cheapest paint ball goggles I could find on eBay. I drew on and hand painted the eyes. The wig was my first big wig project. I started out with a base silver wig and added a pack of extra extensions for volume. I also used clip in bangs that I cut and styled myself. I bought two clip in pigtails and used some of the wig hair to get that extra poof around the top. I mostly kept the pigtails braided so they didn’t get too tangled. I was really happy with how this wig came out. I made the jacket and skirt from scratch and patterned them myself too. The skirt was dyed in between the pleats to match the reference pics. I had to paint on the fabric dye so it wouldn’t spread to the rest of the skirt. I bought leggings and created the silver ringed holes with shower curtain grommets. The shoes are from Payless and I added the beige trim where there used to be fur. I was so in love with this costume, I literally couldn’t believe how cute I was 🙂

Sunday – Cammy White of Street Fighter

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Sunday was another new Street Fighter costume. I did alpha version Cammy. I’ve been wanting to cosplay her for a long time and I even got together with some of my buddies to do a group of Cammies. All I can say about this costume is DAT ASS and DAT WIG! Here’s my costume.

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DAT WIG! It was a truly epic undertaking. I bought a lace front wig and added two packs of wefts to it for thickness and length. I also changed the hairline by adding a felt base and glued on even more hair. The bang was glued on last and was made with acrylic gel medium for sturdiness. The entire thing is so heavy I had to super glue it to my head. The hat and suit are made out of the same blue spandex. It was a pretty easy suit and the hat is lined with interfacing for stiffness. The black armband is made from left over black spandex and the tie is just some thick yellow cotton. The leggings are sewn to the suit so that I’m able to do any poses I want without having to worry about unfortunate accident. I painted the stripes onto the leggings with acrylic paint. The boots are from Payless and all I had to do was trim off some little straps. The gloves/gauntlets are made of worbla covered craft foam and painted with artist quality acrylic paints. The outfit itself is pretty comfortable and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The only downside to this costume is the super heavy wig.

Sorry I just don’t really feel like putting all the link to everyone that needs to be credited but you can find everything and way more pics on my fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/jkcosplay

 

 

Katsucon 2013

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Bringing you guys another convention write up.

Joepool and I attended Katsucon 19, the first convention of the new year! It took place February 15-17, 2013 at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. I’ll first talk about the actual convention center and the surrounding area and all the boring stuff 🙂 The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is a beautiful facility. It’s part hotel and part convention center. The hotel itself is very nice, the rooms are well equipped and pretty luxurious. We didn’t stay at the hotel but our friends were kind enough to let us drop our stuff in their room. Some of the rooms even have balconies that over look the Gaylord indoor gardens. If you wanted to stay at a hotel but maybe the Gaylord was a little too pricey there are at least two other hotels nearby (within walking distance). If you stay at the Gaylord you literally don’t have to leave the entire week. They have food, room service, a couple shops, a pool, a fitness area, and the gardens are quite lovely as well. Frankly I think it’s well worth it to stay at the Gaylord, especially if you’re sharing/splitting the price of a room with friends. I personally didn’t experience hotel parking but there are plenty of parking garages within walking distance of the convention center and I think parking rates are reasonable, about $11 a day. Joepool and I drove in from our home in Silver Spring with our friends Sarah Fong Cosplay and Cheeker Cosplay who were staying with us. The National Harbor is a great location. There are lots of restaurants within walking distance of the con that range from fast food to fine dining. I ate Potbellys sandwiches at least twice and also had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant with a really great waiter. There’s also a CVS and a small grocery store in the area which is great for snacks and cosplay fixes like nail polish and super glue. Besides all that the Gaylord and the National Harbor are great for picture taking. The convention center and the surround gardens and water front a beautiful and the restaurant/hotel/garage areas offer a little different scenery. Basically any kind of back drop you need for your costumes are available at Katsucon.

Now to talk about the actual convention a little bit. Registration was a simple affair for me. Joepool, Sarah Fong and I pre registered at Anime USA 2012. The cost for a weekend pass was only $45 for three days and I think that’s very reasonable. If you tried to by your pass at the door it was $60. If you pre registered you could pick up your pass Thursday night, I heard the lines were pretty long. We didn’t pick up our passes until Friday evening and didn’t wait in line any longer than about 15 minutes because we pre registered and because it was a slow time. It worked out pretty well for us. I didn’t do very much convention stuff, Katsucon for me is a little more of a cosplay con. It has all the usual suspects like a dealers room, artist alley, and gaming room, along with a masquerade, panels and the World Cosplay Summit. Really the only thing I did was go to the dealers room. It was decent sized and I got some good swag so I was pretty happy. I got a small Yukiko Amagi statue, two tiny Blue Exorcist figures, a wig for an upcoming cosplay and Joepool got a Gundam that he had been looking for. Sarah Fong was also kind enough to buy me a Sailor Uranus (my favorite scout) body pillow. Katsucon isn’t a huge convention by any means but its decent sized and there was a good selection in the dealers room. There were a few panels I would have liked to attend but due to scheduling with photographers I just didn’t have a chance. I was most interested in some of the cosplay panels.

I’ve decided to talk about cosplays in a second blog post so look out for that.

The last thing I wanted to mention in this post is about the Jewish youth convention going on at the Gaylord at the same time as Katsucon. I personally didn’t really have any run ins with the kids but I’ve heard a couple horror stories. It was really just a matter of two very different groups of people being forced into the same space and butting heads. I think the youth convention didn’t handle the situation very well but that’s my own opinion. I also want to say let’s not base anything bad we have to say about the people of the other convention on their religion. I happen to have quite a few Jewish friends and one of my cosplay friends at Katsucon is Jewish. Their views of us didn’t really have anything to do with their religion and just the fact that they’re judgemental people and douche bag teenagers. That’s really all I have to say about that and I hope they won’t be invited back next year.

All in all I had a really good time hanging out with my friends and experiencing the convention. Katsucon is still one of my favorite cons and I can’t wait for next year. Please check out my fanpage www.facebook.com/jkcosplay and the League of Hot Geeks fanpage www.facebook.com/LeagueOfHotGeeks. My friends Sarah Fong and Cheeker cosplay also have fan pages and if you’re interested you can find them at www.facebook.com/SaraFongCosplay and www.facebook.com/CheekerCosplay.

Anime USA 2012

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Here’s a little write up about Anime USA 2012. I’ll give you a little overview of the convention and tell you some of my experiences while there.

 

Anime USA is a predominately anime convention in Washington, D.C. This year it was at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel about 5 miles inside the D.C. border.  The convention took place November 9-11, 2012, that’s Friday through Sunday. The convention offered 3 day passes, 2 day passes and 1 day passes. You could purchase tickets at the door for $60, $50 and $35 respectively. Anime USA also offered the option of preregistration which Joepool an I took advantage of, we both got 3 day passes for $50 each. When we picked up our passes Friday morning the lines for purchasing and picking up passes were pretty short and moved very fast. Whenever I walked by the ticket area there didn’t seem to be too much of a line which is definitely nice. Attendees could also get 18+ wristbands to go to the host club, burlesque show and other adult events. When I got mine there was quite a bit of confusion about where to pick it up but I think the wrist bands are a good idea because you don’t have to get your ID checked every time you want t go in and out of adult events. The hotel itself was very nice. It was quite beautiful with lots of locations inside and out for photoshoots. It was a little confusing at first because the con was spread out on a couple different floors and in multiple areas but you get the hang of it eventually. It would have been helpful if there were more signs pointing the way, especially in the main lobby where you first walk in. Artist alley and the video game room were especially hard to locate at first, both were on the same floor as registration and the dealers room but you had to walk all the way across the hotel to a different escalator to access them. In the hotels favor there were lots of elevators, escalators and stairs that made getting around easy and there were lots of really large bathrooms. Joepool and I didn’t get a hotel room, we happen to live very close to the convention so we just drove there and back everyday. I’m very glad we didn’t get a hotel room though, I heard from multiple people that rooms weren’t what they reserved and I saw a friends room and really wasn’t impressed with the amenities, can you believe rooms didn’t have hair dryers? The hotel staff also wasn’t very helpful or accommodating, seeming almost rude at times. Parking wasn’t available for con goers who didn’t have a hotel room. On Friday a hotel staff person told us to park one and a half miles away at a local college where we’d have to walk back to the hotel in costume in the cold. We ended up finding street parking just a block away and although we were scared we might get a ticket we didn’t the entire weekend. I would have been more than happy to pay for parking at the hotel, I always account for parking expenses when figuring out my convention budget. Although the parking situation sucked it was super convenient that there was a metro stop almost on the hotel grounds. The metro runs pretty late at night and isn’t too expensive, it’s a great option for people in the area that don’t want to worry about a hotel room or paying for parking. One other thing in the hotels favor is that there are restaurants just down the street if people don’t want to buy food at the hotel all weekend. Joepool and I went to Chipotle and Lebanese Taverna with our friends but there was also Chinese food,  a sushi restaurant and McDonald’s. There was also a CVS just a block away. The Marriott at Wardman Park is a nice change of venue from the old hotel Anime USA used to be at. Fortunately for me I live in the area because I wasn’t impressed enough with the hotel to want to get a room for next year.

 

Now to talk about the convention itself. Anime USA like most other conventions has the usual fare in terms of entertainment. There are panels going on throughout the weekend, a dealers’ room and artist alley, a manga library, a video game room and rooms where anime and movies are playing. Anime USA also has costume contests, a masquerade, a formal ball and a rave. Cosplay burlesque also put on shows both Friday and Saturday night. The hotel restaurant also accommodated the Maid Cafe and Host Club Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend any panels. Due to Hurricane Sandy many panelists and volunteers weren’t able to come to the con. A few panels that I was interested in going to we’re canceled and the schedule in general was all wonky. It was pretty much out of people hands because of the natural disaster which is understandable although I was still disappointed. The video game room had a good variety of games but it was pretty small. I played a little Mortal Kombat and got roped into DDR even though I’m really terrible at it. Artist alley was really small and I think maybe some of the artists couldn’t make it because of the hurricane. A lot of stalls were empty but the artists that were there had some really nice stuff. The dealers room was a reasonable size, I do understand that Anime USA is a small con in general. I thought many of the products on display were really overpriced and I didn’t end up buying anything. The only thing other than food I spent my money on that weekend was preregistration for Katsucon, they had a booth in the dealers room. I also felt it was kind of a strange policy not to allow photography in the dealers’ room, I felt really bad telling people they couldn’t take pictures while we were in there. Anime USA has raves Friday and Saturday night. I went to the Friday night rave but I didn’t find it very enjoyable so I left after only about 30 minutes. For me the music just wasn’t something I could dance to, at times the beat was super-fast then would change drastically to something very slow. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the rave Saturday night because Joepool and I were pretty much kicked out but I’ll talk more about that later. This was the first year that I’ve ever been to a maid cafe or host club and I attended both at Anime USA. Like I said, I had never been to either before so it was something new for me and I didn’t know what to expect. If you don’t know, it’s like any other restaurant really except that the maids and hosts that wait on you sit and chat and hang out while you’re there. It’s almost like Hooters but with less cleavage. You can also have your maid or host feed you and you can pay for pictures and games to play. All the proceeds go to funding the cafe or host club next year, you aren’t allowed to tip. I had a really good time at both the maid cafe and host club. Our maid was super kawaii and we played Jenga which was quite hilarious. Our host fed my friend cheesecake and the food wasn’t terrible. I definitely look forward to going again next year. The only other thing I attended was the Anime USA Masquerade that also featured the Saturday costume contest walk ons. With the exception of one very peculiar skit I though everyone did a really great job on stage. Things were well planned out and everyone practiced and most were pretty funny. The costume contest contestants also did a super job, I was really impressed with all the costumes. I’m also so proud and happy that my friends Sarah Fong and Han Pan both got first place in their costume divisions on Saturday. Both of these ladies are amazing costumers and they deserve the accolades. Unfortunately the hurricane hit Anime USA pretty hard but they did the best they could under the circumstances, hopefully next year things work out better and the convention will be running more smoothly.

 

Now to talk about Cosplay! I saw lots of amazing costumes and cosplayers at Anime USA this year. Some of the more well know cosplayers I saw were Lady Ava, Uxi Cosplay, Pork Buns, Mostflogged and Cupcake Cosplay which is the combination of Breathlessaire and Starlighthoney. All these ladies are people I look up to in the cosplay community and they all had amazing costumes. Joepool and I cosplayed all three days of the convention. Friday was classic Cartoon Network characters, I was Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls and Joepool was Samurai Jack. We were cosplaying with our friends Sarah Fong (https://www.facebook.com/SarahFongCosplay) and Alex who were Blossom and Bubbles respectively, all the costumes were made by me. Saturday we did a Street Fighter group. Joepool was Ryu and I was Makoto, we were with our friends again. Sarah was wearing her brand new Ibuki costume that won the first place prize in the novice division of the costume contest on Saturday and Alex was wearing a Sakura costume made by Sarah. Sunday Joepool and I were cosplaying from the Yu Yu Hakusho movie. I was Yoko Kurama and he was Kuronue. Joepool and I worked on his Kuronue costume together. I had lots of fun with all three of my costumes and we got some really great pictures. I want to give a special thanks to Elysiam Entertainment (https://www.facebook.com/elysiamguild), P Karpey Photography (https://www.facebook.com/pages/P-Karpey-Photography) and Felix Wong Photography (https://www.facebook.com/felix.wong.photography) for doing photo shoots with us; we really appreciate all their hard work. Luckily for me I didn’t have any costume mishaps this convention. Everything stayed in place and most of the costumes were relatively comfortable. The only problem I had was with the convention and hotel staff on Saturday while Joepool and I were wearing our Street Fighter costumes. Apparently we aren’t allowed to walk around the hotel bare foot. I wasn’t aware of that at all throughout the day until about 9 pm when people started stopping me. I have since then checked the Anime USA website for their policies and it doesn’t say anything about footwear or the lack thereof that I’m aware of, please correct me if I’m wrong. Because we came from home we didn’t even bring shoes with us so essentially we were told to leave. I realize the con staff is just doing their job but it would have been nice if it had said in the list of policies that shoes must be worn at all times because I figured it would be okay since we were inside. So for that reason we weren’t able to go to the Saturday night rave even though I was really looking forward to it. People are always weirded out that Joepool and I don’t wear shoes when the costume calls for it, for us it’s just going that extra step to make the costume as authentic and true to character as possible.

 

So in conclusion, I had a really enjoyable time at Anime USA 2012. However, it was mostly due to my awesome group of con hugs because the convention itself wasn’t that great. I can honestly say that if the convention wasn’t right down the street from me I probably wouldn’t go and I especially wouldn’t waste my money paying for a long distance trip and hotel room.

jk cosplay fanpage http://www.facebook.com/ jkcosplay

league of hot geeks fanpage www.facebook.com/LeagueOfHotGeeks

written by Kris Lee

 

Baltimore Comic Con

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I attended Baltimore Comic Con this past weekend September 8 and 9 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Baltimore Convention Center is located in the inner harbor of Baltimore City in Maryland. Saturday the convention ran from 10am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Weekend passes were $40 but they also had single day passes available. If you ordered your passes online it was pretty easy to pick them up, there was a little wait Saturday morning but nothing too bad. If you had to purchase a pass there the wait was significantly longer. The venue itself is really nice. The Baltimore convention center is large and spacious. The main hall was on the bottom floor with the vendors and artists. Upstairs panels were held. There’s also lots of places to take pictures for photoshoots. Plenty of stairs, elevators and escalators made it easy to get around. The area around the con is also nice with lots of places to eat within walking distance. There are also lots of hotels in the area for people who are traveling. It isn’t hard to find parking but it can be a little pricey, $15 for all day event parking in a near by garage was what I paid. If you’re dead set on not paying for parking you can take the Baltimore light rail from one of their stations throughout the area to the station right across the street from the convention center. I’m told it’s only a few dollars to ride. Overall I was really happy with the location of the convention, the only downside being the expensive parking.

Now to talk about the convention itself. I attended Baltimore Comic Con the past two years and this year it was bigger than ever. Significantly more vendors and artists. For a full list of all the guests, vendors and artists you can go to the Baltimore Comic Con website http://baltimorecomiccon.com/. Among the artists I was really happy to see PLB Comics. I love those guys and have been to a number of events that they have been involved with, most notably Eastern Shore Fan Con. I also was really happy to see my friend Rey Arzeno who is an amazing artist. This year I bought a print from him of 80’s style Storm and I couldn’t be happier. Tons of other amazing artists of course and everyone that I talked to was really nice and really passionate about their work. We hung out and chatted with the people of The Blind Ferret Entertainment and the were beyond funny, I’m definitely going to start following their work at http://www.the-gutters.com/. Baltimore Comic Con also had lots of cool vendors. My favorite comic book store ever, Collectors Corner was there. They have the best stuff and even though they are an hours drive from me that’s where I go to by my comics http://www.collectorscornermd.com/. I was also glad to see Beyond Comics, I purchased a Bowen Elektra mini bust from them. They always have the best display with the giant Hulk display and lots of cool statues and busts in glass cases around their booth. I also talked to the people of Twilight Zone Comics who were super nice and I’m definitely going to check out their store. Another one of my favorite vendors is the Button Guy, I always load up on buttons and magnets whenever I see him. This year I got a few Psylocke buttons along with Elektra, Domino and Storm. Although there were panels being held throughout the day Saturday and Sunday the only thing I attended was Stan Lee spotlight Saturday. I was never a huge fan of Stan Lee before that but he really won me over at that panel. I was laughing like the entire time. It was also really cool that at the end of the panel they gave away three signed pictures to fans that could answer obscure trivia questions, the winners were seriously on point with their stuff. While I’m talking about Stan Lee I want to say something really fast about the high light of the entire convention. I was chatting with some other cosplayers and we were stopped to take some pictures when someone asked to get into the picture with us. It’s something that happens a lot so we were all like yeah sure, but I turn around and it’s Stan Lee!!! You would not believe how excited I was, I could not stop smiling and I hugged the crap out of Stan Lee. After he had been whisked away I literally jumped up and down yelling, I was so happy. I think that event made my entire life!

Let me do a quick recap of the goodies that I purchased. Thundercats Classic Panthro mega scale action figure, Marvel Universe Hand Ninja action figure, 80’s Storm print, cute 90’s X Men girls print, Uncanny X Force print, buttons and magnets from the Button Guy, two loose Elektra actioin figures, and the Bowen Elektra mini bust. You can see pictures of everything on my Facebook page if you follow this link https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.278536425579773.48103.266787696754646&type=3.

Finally to talk about the cosplays. I was cosplaying with Joepool as part of JK Cosplay. Saturday I wore my Elektra costume and Sunday I wore my new 90’s style Psylocke costume. Joepool was dressed like a Hand Ninja the whole weekend. I’ve never done photoshoots at a convention before but I did this time. I shot with P Karpey Photography, Ron Pratt Photography and Megan Mathews Photography in my Elektra costume and again with P Karpey Photography as Psylocke. If you go to the JK Cosplay fanpage you can take a look at all the photos, I think they all turned out really well. Both costumes were really well received, especially Elektra which I was pleased about. Tons of other cosplayers there and you can see pics here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.529542160394303.138121.144596955555494&type=3 on the League of Hot Geeks fanpage. There were some really awesome costumes and there were some not so great costumes but everyone seemed to be having a good time and that’s what really matters.

So! In conclusion, I had a super amazing time at Baltimore Comic Con 2012. It isn’t the biggest convention but it’s definitely one of my favorites. You’ll definitely see me back next year. 

my fanpage http://www.facebook.com/krisleecosplay

jk cosplay fanpage http://www.facebook.com/ jkcosplay

league of hot geeks fanpage www.facebook.com/LeagueOfHotGeeks

written by Kris Lee

Juri Han Costume

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I’ve finally finished my Juri Han costume from Street Fighter. Juri is the only Korean character and her style is Tae Kwon Do so I pretty much had to do this costume. She isn’t my favorite character in the game but I have fun using her and her creepy bad ass attitude definitely makes her stand out. So let me first off say that I chose to do an alternate color for my costume. Red is just my color and I had a bunch of red fabric in my scrap pile so this was a good way to use it up. I also used reference pictures from the Street Fighter art rather than the game so there might be a few inconsistencies. Other than that I tried to make my costume as accurate as possible. This post isn’t a tutorial about how to make a Juri Han costume, rather I’m showing you my costume and giving a brief explanation of what I did. I also want to say I’m not a professional seamstress by any stretch of the word. I’m completely self taught when it comes to sewing and for that reason some of the things I do in my costumes might be a little weird. So all that being said let me show you my costume!

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Above are a couple of the reference pictures I used for my costume. I got them from the CAPCOM Street Fighter IV / Super Street Fighter IV Official Complete Works book. That book was so helpful because it really breaks down the costume and I was able to see a lot of details that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to get out of the game or from regular artwork.

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These are the things for the arms. I bought the gloves on eBay for about $9. It was easy to color match because I chose to do red instead of the usual pink/purple. The only thing I did to the gloves was add the band of red that goes around the wrist. Other than that they were pretty much perfect as is. The spike bracelets I also got from eBay. It’s just not something I can really make myself but they match the reference pictures really well. The other things are basically arm socks. I made them from spandex and used stiff elastic in the black to get the point. There’s a hole for my thumb and I wear them like long finger less gloves.

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Here are the things that go underneath her dougi pants. The leggings are made of spandex and the black panties and red legs are sewn together. I double layered the black so they would be nice and opaque and so I didn’t have to mess around with elastic. In the art the panties are much more low cut in the front and back but I chose not to make mine so low cut for modesty and comfort reasons. I ordered the ankle supports online. They’re something that’s cheap enough to make sewing them silly because it’s kind of a complicated thing to make.

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Here are the dougi pants and belt. I modified an old pair of martial arts pants I had laying around. I basically cut out the elastic at the waist and opened up the sides and made the cut out at the crotch. I used part of the belt as the new waist band. The sides of the pants are made from scrap fabric I had from other costumes and I just sewed the pieces together and pressed the seams flat. I made some bias tape from the same black fabric to go around the cut out. There’s elastic in the bottom to help get that poofy effect. The belt is sewn into the pants just to make my life easier when wearing the costume. I don’t have to worry about wrapping it every time and it sits exactly the way I want it. I made the other piece of the belt a separate piece also for ease when wearing. I got the pyramid studs online at a really good price. They were really easy to install and I have a lot left over I can use on another project. The belt was the most tedious part of the whole costume. Its so long that I had to sew multiple strips of fabric together and involved a ton of ironing and top stitching. The buckle is made for plastic. I cut it out, heated it up to shape, and gave it a coat of white spray paint so it looks nice and clean. The pants and the belt just slip on because the red and black fabric have a slight stretch to it.

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The top was the most difficult part of the costume. I had to make my own pattern for it and there was lots of trail and error involved. In the art she has a lot of side boob going on and I wasn’t really comfortable with that especially if I’ll be wearing it at conventions where a wardrobe malfunction can happen anytime. Its made with upholstery leather and I was lucky enough to find exactly the colors I needed at my local JoAnn Fabrics. I painted the design onto the front part with artist quality acrylic paint and the black trim was sewn on. It’s lined with the same black fabric I used in the pants so it’s a little more comfortable to wear. Studs from eBay, the same seller I ordered the pyramid studs from. I was able to just press them in and take a pair of pliers and make sure they were really secure. It’s secured around my neck with snaps that are hand sewn in. The back piece is also made from the same upholstery leather. The design was not painted on, I used a bright red leather for that. The straps are sewn in between two piece of the black leather so they’re really secure. I added those two studs for no particular reason other than I thought it looked a little cooler. The straps are made from the black leather and I painted the back with black acrylic paint because it was originally white. They were by far the hardest part of the entire costume. It was very difficult to get them the right size and shape and placement because my dressform isn’t my exact body shape and it was really hard trying to do them with the top on. The top four straps are sewn into both the front and back piece of the top. the bottom four straps attach with velcro to the front and are sewn into the back. I might go back later and reinforce the straps because I’m a little concerned they might tear after wearing the costume multiple times. Other than that the top is really secure, I don’t need any extra straps to hold it on. Underneath I wear a tape on strapless/backless bra although conceivably I could go without even that.

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This is the wig, it was another pretty difficult part of this costume. The base wig was something I had laying around, it was just a long, straight, black wig. It was perfect for this except that it was parted down the middle. I sectioned off the pieces for the bangs and long parts in the front and cut and styled those last. The oblong buns started with a foam cone that I shaped, painted and covered with a piece of hair extension I got on sale at my local beauty supply store. To get the hair to stay in place I used black acrylic paint. I wasn’t worried about destroying the wig because I don’t plan on using it for anything else, I really want it to stay in place and to be able to wear it many times. I attached the buns to the wig by making two tiny pony tails where I want them to attach and hollowing out the foam base. I glued them on with tub and tile sealer so they would really stay. Lastly I proceeded to wrap the hair from the back of the wig around the buns. I would take sections from one side and wrap to the opposite bun so there wouldn’t be any gaps in the back of the wig. The hair wrapped around the bun was secured with more paint. It was a very messy and laborious process. The rings around the buns are made of red foam. I gave them a coat of paint so they would exactly match the rest of my costume and secured to the wig with a dab of super glue.

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Here’s a couple pictures of me wearing the wig and costume. I did a little bit of make up here so you can get an idea of what I was going for. When I wear it for an event I will definitely get more detailed with it. Basically I really wanted to get the really straight and slanted eyebrows and the kind of droopy eyes. I’ll cover the outer tips of my eye brows when I do my make up for real. My eyes aren’t really shaped like Juri’s but I tried to focus the eye shadow on the outer half of my lower lash line to get that kind of droopy effect. I also did a thin layer of eye liner on the top lash line. I plan do get some red eye shadow to really pull the look together and I also ordered some red contacts. I know that here eyes are supposed to be purple but red is my theme and I’m going all the way with it. Another really important thing with the make up for Juri is to try to get that really angular face. I did a lot of contouring under my cheek bones and jawline and lots of high lighting on top of the cheek bones to kind of trick the eye. My face is pretty square so the contouring is a really important step. No blush or lip color is needed for this look but some lip gloss might be in order.

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Sorry for the terrible picture but this is the completed outfit. I had to use the self timer to take it and I’m not a great photographer in the first place. I’m pretty happy overall with the whole costume. It’s reasonably comfortable to wear besides the top because it’s a little stiff. It’s pretty easy to go to the bathroom in, which is always a big concern for me. A couple things I need to remember when wearing the costume is to make sure I suck in my stomach for pictures, paint my nails red, and hair spray my bangs in place. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some professional pictures taken soon to share with everyone. I need to work on my posing and getting that perfectly sexy/creepy facial expression. Any comments or question let me know. I hope you guys find this type of blog post interesting I should have more like it as I make more costumes.